Mount Saint Helens All Over Again – A Sermon On Anger

TITLE: Mt. St. Helens All Over Again – A Sermon on Anger


PROPOSITION: The Bible teaches about anger: 1) Righteous vs. Unrighteous Anger, 2) The Victims of Anger, 3) Anger Generates Hatred, 4) We can do something about it!

OBJECTIVE: Each listener should be resolved to know what anger is, does, and how to take action to deal with it.


1. Read: James 1:19-20 – “So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath; for the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God.”

2. About the Text:

1) On May 18, 1980, Mt. St. Helens erupted; it was a national event.

2) I remember writing a report about it in middle school and being thoroughly fascinated.

3) The ash cloud from the eruption was impressive, rising to 80,000 feet into the atmosphere.

4) Airline traffic was diverted to avoid the ash cloud.

5) Ships were trapped in the Columbia river.

6) In 2005, my family and I visited Mt. St. Helens in South Washington State.

7) I learned how the volcano came to erupt.

8) The volcano sits on two continental plates that are colliding.

9) The friction creates great heat and pressure below the earth’s surface.

10) Mt. St. Helens was the pressure valve, but it was plugged up.

11) All of that heat and pressure built up underneath the mountain.

12) The pressure was more than the mountain could stand, and it exploded.

13) The mountain lost 1314 feet of height.

14) Fifty-seven people died from the explosion.

3. Anger

1) Mt. St. Helens is a good metaphor for anger.

2) We often talk about people who are angry as “blowing their top.”

3) Anger comes from friction between people.

4) It can build up over time, if it isn’t dealt with.

5) It creates heat and pressure within us to act.

6) And it all comes forth in a moment of explosive intensity.

7) There will also be victims to our anger.

8) It’s Mt. St. Helens all over again.

9) What can we learn from the Bible about anger?

4. Ref. to S, T, P, O, and A.

DISCUSSION: What does the Bible say about anger?

I.   Righteous vs. Unrighteous Anger

1. When we handle anger correctly.

1) Anger is a reactive emotion of heat and pressure.

2) We become angry when we perceive injustice.

3) Notice what the Psalmist says in Psalm 4:1-4.

4) His statement, “Be angry and do not sin” is a response to wicked men.

5) It is his own self-talk to dissipate his anger with injustice.

6) He ultimately concedes to God’s involvement.

7) This is handling anger correctly.

8) We are not supposed to let the sun go down on our anger (Ephesians 4:26).

9) We must let it go quickly.

10) Psalm 37:8: “Cease from anger, and forsake wrath; Do not fret—it only causes harm.”

2. When we handle anger incorrectly.

1) Unrighteous anger turns to self as the solution.

2) It allows the heat and the pressure to build to an intolerable situation.

3) Perhaps our anger is against an injustice or a perceived injustice.

4) Maybe it comes from jealousy.

5) It may also come from friction with other people.

6) Unrighteous anger is a tool that is used to control others, intimidate, and cow.

7) It becomes an addiction to us because it makes us feel strong and powerful.

8) What is really happening is anger taking control of our lives.

9) It removes our ability to reason and to see things straight.

10) It’s only focus is the object of its wrath.

11) “Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice” (Ephesians 4:31).

3. What about God’s anger.

1) There is no doubt that the Bible attributes anger to God.

a. Psalm 21:9 states, “You shall make them as a fiery oven in the time of Your anger; The Lord shall swallow them up in His wrath, And the fire shall devour them.”

b. Psalm 90:11 states, “Who knows the power of Your anger? For as the fear of You, so is Your wrath.”

c. Psalm 7:11: “God is a just judge, And God is angry with the wicked every day.”

2) God’s anger, however, is slow, meaning, it is under perfect control at all times. “The Lord is merciful and gracious, Slow to anger, and abounding in mercy” (Psalm 103:8).

3) It is also temporary and not an addiction: “For His anger is but for a moment, His favor is for life; Weeping may endure for a night, But joy comes in the morning” (Psalm 30:5).

4) James tells us that God’s anger is not to be compared with man’s anger. “for the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God” (James 1:20).

II.  Anger Victimizes Self

1. Anger is the #1 addiction in the world – Proverbs 22:24-25 “Make no friendship with an angry man, And with a furious man do not go, Lest you learn his ways And set a snare for your soul.”

2. Anger is fueled by pride and envy to create pain within the self.

1) Cain was a victim of his own anger.

2) Genesis 4:4-8

3) His pride and envy worked together to produce anger.

4) His pride created unreasonable expectations that God didn’t meet.

5) His envy created false comparisons between him and his brother.

6) He felt victimized because God didn’t accept his sacrifice.

7) His anger caused him to lash out violently against his brother, Abel.

3. Anger is our response toward not getting our way.

1) Jonah was angry because God spared Nineveh.

2) Jonah 4

3) God asked him, “Is it right for you to be angry?”

4) Jonah was angry because God wasn’t doing what he wanted Him to do.

5) His desires were elevated above even God’s desires.

4. We euphemize our anger with words like: frustrated, annoyed, irritated, aggravated, hurt.

1) We do this so as not to take ownership of the fact that we are addicted to anger.

2) We do this to excuse ourselves from unresolved anger.

3) Bitterness is old anger.

4) James 3:14 – “But if you have bitter envy and self-seeking in your hearts, do not boast and lie against the truth.”

III. Anger Produces Hatred

1. How does anger build up in the heart?

1) It begins with our desire for justice; to right some wrong.

2) There is a stigma that surrounds anger.

3) It makes us suppress the anger that we have so that it isn’t dealt with.

4) This creates shame, and we bury our anger.

5) When we don’t deal with our anger appropriately, it builds.

6) All of that heat and pressure eventually builds up to a point where we can’t control it any more.

7) Like Mt. St. Helens blowing its top, we explode in a vicious fit of rage!

2. This boiling anger looks for a target on whom to exact vengeance!

1) Anger seeks an outlet; it pressures us to find a target.

2) This is the person who has wronged us, or who needs to change.

3) So we end up hating another like Cain hated Abel.

4) 1 John 3:11-12 – “For this is the message that you heard from the beginning, that we should love one another, not as Cain who was of the wicked one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his works were evil and his brother’s righteous.”

5) Romans 12:19 – “Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, ‘Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,’ says the Lord.”

IV.  What do we do about anger?

1. Kill pride and envy in our life.

1) These are the tectonic plates that are creating the friction, heat, and pressure!

2) “Pride goes before destruction, And a haughty spirit before a fall” (Proverbs 16:18).

3) “Wrath is cruel and anger a torrent, But who is able to stand before envy?” (Proverbs 27:4).

4) Jesus had no pride or envy so his anger never got out of control – Phil.2:5ff.

2. Be quick to hear and slow to speak – (James 1:19-20).

3. Get busy evangelizing the lost! – “For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Thessalonians 5:9).

4. Pray – “I desire therefore that the men pray everywhere, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting” (1 Timothy 2:8).


1. What does the Bible teach about anger?

1) Righteous vs. Unrighteous Anger – Don’t use it as an excuse!

2) Anger Victimizes Self.

3) Anger Produces Hatred for Others

4) We can alter our lives to control anger.

2. Invitation